Design Bloggers Conference Report

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Design Confidential just returned home from sunny and warm L.A  and the  Design Bloggers Conference and it was AWESOME! I have been to a lot of conferences and trade shows and I can honestly say it was the best one I have been to in 5 years. I credit the enthusiastic and open attendees, the well planned and executed agenda, the amazing lineup of marketers and design bloggers. This was the first time I have attended and it was all I expected and more.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard speaking at DBC

The event kicked off  with Martyn Lawrence Bullard walking through a retrospective of his work, sharing personal  stories and giving us an inside peek to the lives of the rich and famous. (Love how his  entrepreneurial  spirit sparked his design career; that man has seen it all and the world.) There was no let up with two days filled with nonstop education, networking, and epiphanies  all rolled up into one big  extraordinary experience that finished Tuesday evening with a party at Harbinger in West Hollywood  hosted by Trad Home/ Kravet and Bunny Williams. Here’s my roundup report of the conference.

Shadowboxes of Wayfair home furnishings

Wayfair Party

I loved the shadowboxes and in a room full of designers you can bet they were rearranging the furniture!

Social Media Star Sightings:

  • Rhonda Carmen, All the Best
  • Tobi Fairley
  • Martyn Lawrence Bullard
  • Bunny Williams
  • Cassandra LaValle Coco + Kelley
  • Leslie Carothers
  • Macala Wright , FMM
  • Annie Selke, Pine Cone Hill
  • Stacy Kunstel, Stacy Style
  • Lisa Ferguson, Décor Mentor
  • Holly Hollingsworth Phillips, The English Room

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The list goes on and on….

Panel Discussion with Rhonda Carmen, Tobi Fairley and Cassandra LaValle

Best Memory: Technically my best memory wasn’t at  DBC, BUT, if I hadn’t  gone and met up with fellow designer Cheryl Draa; it would never had happened. Cheryl and I were invited to Hutton Wilkinson’s Sunday before the conference for tea . Hutton worked with the fabulously eccentric Tony Duquette. Duquette was a design giant and his over- the- top stylings are something I closely align with when it comes to design. Never for the life of me did I EVER think I would get a chance to have an invitation like that; (Heart be still…) yet alone to have a  tour of Hutton’s jewel box house and Dawnridge – Tony Duquette’s stunning home- next door. I can’t tell you how amazing it was, the colors, the textures, the contrasts  – MORE is definitely better! (More on Dawnridge, Hutton and Tony  about this later this week.)

Best Quotes: The audience was all a twitter with these quotes:

“The 70’s Vibe is the new black.”    Martyn Lawrence Bullard

“Commenting isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you can only say so much about pretty pictures. “ Adam  Japko, Design Sherpa

“ Money is a good lubricant. ”   Kimberly Seldon, Dabble

“There is a lot of value in your F—ups.” Brian Patrick Flynn, Décor Demon

Surprise!

Adam Japko, Design Sherpa and wine aficionado  surprised us all with a fabulous  morning  toast  of Pierre Gimonnet Champagne. Now that’s a  ”coffee” break.

Blogging: The new marketing and PR channel panel- Liza Weiner, Becher Associates; Kristine Kennedy, Wayfair; Stacy Kunstel, Stacy Style

Top  takeaways:

  • Be your authentic self and don’t over think it. Your brand should have an authentic voice, authentic look and authentic content.
  • Find your niche and blow it up.
  • “Every brand has a story- What is yours? Make your story available to everyone, everywhere and you’ll be part of the conversation. Amplify your voice. Be seen, Be heard, Be Shared and Be remembered and you’ll be invited in to the tent.”  Tami McCarthy

Sites I HAVE to check out: Each speaker or panelist shared their favorite resources. These are my must dos.

  • Design Sherpa
  • Appify- already on it!
  • Discovered
  • Instrgr.am
  • Stipple
  • Chimein
  • The Fancy

DBC Buzz words

  • Curated Content
  • Authentic
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Point of View as in “What is your point of view?”
  • Relevancy
  • Passion
  • Tenacity
  • Stories – authentic stories, tell a story, craft your brand story
  • Elevate
  • Focus

Lessons Learned

  • Find your inspiration and lend a perspective to it to “pay it forward”. Bring inspiration in context with content.
  • Promote yourself; no one else will. Something I think designers have issues with. Entrepreneurs often struggle with little self esteem .
  • Collaborate with people who complement your strengths

I have already marked my calendar for next year’s event and there is even a possibility that there will be a European version. WooHoo!

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7 comments… add one
  • Marena James 7 March, 2012, 6:27 am

    Thank you so much Deb!
    My daughter is attending Cal State Fullerton and I so wanted to go visit her and attend the conference, but my father lost his battle with cancer three weeks ago. Needless to say I was on the other side of the coast (North Carolina) instead.
    You have given us some awesome information and I can’t wait to dig into all the reference material you’ve so graciously given.

    Many, many thanks! MJ

  • NANCY TRAVIS 7 March, 2012, 10:15 am

    WOW, sounds like you all had a great time. I will really consider going next year. Is it always in the same place? I’m sure you got some great ideas.

  • Deb 7 March, 2012, 11:44 am

    I believe so- they were in LA last year also. Here is their website. I think you can get added to mailing list once dates are announced.
    http://www.design-bloggers-conference.com

  • Deb 7 March, 2012, 11:46 am

    Maren,
    So sorry to hear about your father. My sincere sympathy. Keep me posted as you dig into the research.

  • Madeline Lester 7 March, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Deb,
    Long time sice we last saw each other, very interested to read your info on this conference, sounds like is a must in the calemdar. Just great to read your comments, stay well and connected.

  • Tammy@InStitches 9 March, 2012, 7:12 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful trip, Deb. I MUST go next year !

  • Lynne Bier 19 April, 2012, 11:11 pm

    Deb I loved your blog on the Design Blogger’s Conference. You did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the conference, from the trends, to the advice, to the people,
    to the wonderful champagne Adam surprised us with. Your blog brought back many great memories and I also am excited about attending next year (and maybe in Europe?)

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